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Gergely to enforce, enhance collection efforts
In an effort to step up the city’s collection of unpaid taxes, permit fees and other debts, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko has hired a chief revenue officer.
Matt Gergely, who served for the past three years as business manager for McKeesport Area School District, will be introduced to city council at the March 4 meeting, Cherepko said Wednesday.
Council has already discussed Gergely’s hiring in an executive session before the Feb. 5 meeting, the mayor said.
Gergely is taking the place of two employees of the finance department who recently retired and will help oversee a “total restructuring” of the department, Cherepko said.
Three more retirements are expected this year, he said. “Rather than continuing to replace people, we are looking at this as another opportunity to do more with less,” Cherepko said.
Gergely previously served as city administrator from 2012 to 2017.
“Because of his previous position, we think he’s going to be a tremendous asset to the city,” Cherepko said.
In December, council approved a 2-mill increase in property taxes — believed to be the city’s first property tax increase in 2001, when McKeesport actually lowered the tax on vacant land at the same time.
The city is trying to avoid another property tax increase by improving its collection efforts, Cherepko said.
“It’s no secret that a lot of the taxes we collect — like the parking tax — are more or less based on the honor system,” Cherepko said. “I think we could be more aggressive in our internal collections.”
Gergely said he “loved” his job with the district and enjoyed working with Superintendent Mark Holtzman Jr. and the school board, but that he “so happy to be back” at city hall.
Gergely is a graduate of McKeesport Area High School and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Before working for the city, he worked for the State Workers’ Insurance Fund.
“My heart was in the city and I feel fortunate to be back,” Gergely said. “I want to make sure we’re collecting any and all revenues that are available to us. I understand the importance of tax dollars and how they’re spent.”
Jason Togyer is editor of The Tube City Almanac and volunteer executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc.
Originally published February 27, 2020.